I have a certain routine for my hospital haematology visits. They take place every eight weeks so it is a routine I have honed over the past few years.
I leave at the same time, head the same route up the N7 and cut off after City West. I park on level one of the hospital car park. I check in with the lovely receptionist and hand in my blood forms. My blood samples get taken and sent to the lab and then I sit and wait for an hour or so before heading upstairs to register with haematology rapid access clinic.
While I wait I buy a copy of The Irish Times, an orange juice and a banana and walnut muffin. I do the crosswords while I wait. Once in the clinic, I see the consultant, have the chat, bring up any issues, ask advice and nine times out of ten I get the all clear and am sent home. I take a detour to the hospital chapel on the way out to say a prayer of thanks.
The routine keeps my nerves at bay. Yes, even after doing this for nine years, I am still nervous at each appointment. I am always hoping that the all clears will continue and that I won’t be kept in because of an infection or because of blood ox level (which happened once). I am always afraid that any one of these check-ups will be the one at which I receive the news that the cancer has come back.
The routine is important. This morning my routine is completely out of sync. I left home slightly later than I usually would as I am on holidays and did not hear the alarm on the first ring. There was no traffic at all so I flew up with no queues. I had to park on the second level as I just missed the last space on level one. A brand new person took my bloods and there was no sign of the lovely receptionist. Then I got to the cafe and there were no banana and walnut muffins. I had to settle for a blueberry one. I did the crossword and finished my refreshments and went up to the haematology day ward. It wasn’t where I left it eight week’s ago! I had to go searching for it. Someone had moved it to a completely different floor.
Needless to say this development has done nothing to calm my nerves. My nerve noises and voices seem louder today.
Keep your fingers crossed for me and if you do the prayers thing, you might include me.
I am hoping for another all clear and for a return of my hospital routine to just the way I like it.